He started the year with a loss to Chris Weidman on the UFC’s first show to air on the FOX network, putting on a desultory performance in the process. The event marked the completion of Maia’s attempted transformation (aka decline) into a stand-up fighter.
Some time afterwards he got back to his jiu jitsu roots, dropped to welterweight and is now looking like a top contender. Recently he was to fight Josh Koscheck and would surely have earned a title shot with a win, but Koscheck pulled out with an injury.
He will now face Jake Shields on October 9. But in fact, Maia very nearly gave up fighting altogether. He tells SporTV how 2012 went for him:
“After that fight[with Weidman], I broke my hand, my wife lost the child we were expecting and we were robbed by five armed men.
“It was the only time in my life where I wanted to give up fighting. But I also thought; now is the time for good things to come, because if I had any karma to pay for, I did.”
In the same interview Maia also derides the tendency for Brazilian fighters to avoid fighting each other out of some sort of nationalistic loyalty.
“This ‘honoring other Brazilians’ business is a load of rubbish. I think there is about 350 fighters in the UFC and not even 50 of them are Brazilian,” he said.
“Whoever gets to be [in the UFC] does so on their own merit. In order to get in the UFC a person has to go through many hardships. And it's harder to get in than it is to get cut so there’s a lot of pressure to go in there and win.”